I love this market. My last market as a top agent was the Southern California real estate depression of 1990 through 1996. It made me rich and set my family up for generations. Let me give you the silver linings………….
1. If you would start setting up some proactive seller lead generation systems, you would find that getting listings is easier. Sellers want professionals to sell their homes, and non professionals seldom make it through a market like this. Also sellers look less at discounted real estate services to solve their needs. You will find it takes less energy to capture a good listing. Therefore, as you increase you personal inventory, you can increase showings, contracts from cooperative agents, buyer phone calls and more double end possibilities. I challenge you to start one new seller lead generation system today.
2. You have now found out that it is nice to have something set aside for a rainy day. If buyers that want to steal something and sellers that are no longer happy does not tip you off that the old adage of “Make hay while the sun shines” is not true, I give up. I challenge you to open up a money market fund at someplace like ING or Fidelity. Have you broker take 10% of every commission check and wire it to your account. By the way, even-though it sounds scary, you will never miss it! Also have one of the two companies take $10.00 to a $1,000.00 out of your account every month. You will not miss it.
3. I bet this market has proven to you that debt is a drag. Ok, secured debt is ok if the security is making enough money to pay for the debt, but all other kinds of debt is a drag. I challenge you to have a plan of reduction. That entails paying cash for items. Getting along with what you have longer. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Make pay downs on the balances on a regular basis. Get a board game for the family and figure out to have more fun while spending less. Start with the highest interest rate item first. Negotiate others down.
4. Who needs stuff. Just had dinner last night with 70 year old plus friends. They have lots of stuff. He said, every year you are alive, you like stuff less. I challenge you to learn Ebay, take stuff to the local auction or the re-sale shops. On the stuff that does not sell, give it to the church or less advantaged. Take the money from the stuff that you no longer care about and apply to debt or savings account.
5. Discover how much faith can play in your life. If the Lord can give his only begotten son for your sins, just think how easy it could be for him to help you achieve your goals. I challenge you to time block some time for Church on Sunday morning.
6. It’s hard to read the bad news in the press and then hang out with negative people. Start believing the fact that you are a reflection of who you hang out with. Realtors will never buy or sell through you, so if you hang out with them, they better be uplifting! Get out of the energy draining relationships. My life never truly turned around until I put all bad and energy sucking people nicely out of my life. I challenge you not to engage with negativity by filling your time with positives and not returning the calls of the negatives.
7. In a tough time, time becomes more valuable. Some of your communication habits have to change. I challenge you urge cooperative agents to leave messages on your voice mail if it is not your phone answering time. They need to leave a complete message so that you can work on the challenge and propose a solution without having to talk to them in person. Many a deal gets put together with effective voice mail messages, never talking to the other person. Second, when you and your client need information, try a three way. Hit the hold, dial the answer man’s number and connect all three. It will impress, answer further questions and eliminate telephone tag. I challenge you to handle the phone better by timeblocking a special two hours a day for return calls, incoming calls, incoming and outgoing emails and snail mail. Then I challenge you to start taming the cooperative calls and starting three ways to handle the communication challenge immediately.
8. On every bill you pay, I want you to ask……how do I reduce it, eliminate it, get someone else to pay for it or a combination of the above. I challenge you to stop the insanity. The internet took over print years ago. If you are going to do print, it better be creative and contrary to the competition. When everyone else advertises their sellers, why can’t you advertise your buyers? If it is not bringing results try to improve it. If it still has no return, eliminate it. I challenge you to look at your expenses very hard. Dad said that the fastest way to make more money is to raise your prices and stop spending.
9. People have goals that are not being achieved by many Realtors. Charge them more it you know how to achieve their goals. That means that you will have to spend time asking buyers and sellers more questions to determine their needs, see if they are realistic and are motivated enough to participate in a process that is in their own best interest. Then prepare a listing presentation that meets their core needs. I then challenge you to ask for more commission than the competition is asking for. People are willing to pay for professionals that achieve their goals. If you are one of them, ask for more that the “average” agents are asking for, but you better be able to prove you are worth it. This is the time to do it.
10. This market should force you to pay attention to the numbers. How many listings are there compared to 12 and 24 months ago. How long do they take to sell and at what list to sale ratio. How does that compare to your list to sale ratio. How does that compare to the numbers of the agent that you are about to go up against. It is all about success. The numbers prove success. People pay for success. People hang with success. So I challenge you to know the numbers that express your market, your competitions numbers and your numbers. If they compare well, be talking about them in this market and people will take notice.
11. I challenge you to pay the most attention to the most profitable aspects of your brokerage business. If there are less transactions, it is time to capture the juicy ones. A double sided transaction allows a double commission with less delays. You know the needs of both parties and there are less gambits. So maximize their occurrence! Have a system that turns on the minute you get the listing go ahead. As you walk out, take a sign out of your trunk and put it up. Call your assistant or online contact a third party vendor and get the new listing cards out in 24 hours. I hope you have delayed the publishing of the listing in the MLS for about a week. Please do that legally and ethically. Contact you database with a quick email about the opportunity. You should also hold the one and only open house that Sunday. Do everything you can do to use the excitement of a new listing to get your own buyer. I challenge you to go back to your most profitable transactions of the past and design systems to experience them more often.
12. You are dealing with your old friends. You remember them, the top people, the survivors, the ones that were around during the last slowdown. The new faces have proven business plans. I challenge you to start leveraging their experience. One of the best things that I did in my area during the last tough market was to put my “POWER PLAYERS GROUP” together. I invited them to my home for a barbecue and proposed that they all send my assistant an email with their number one best buyer and number one best seller based on fantastic motivation. I wanted them to include with the one person and one property, all the information that I would need to find them the other end. The leads were sent to me on Thursday and I assembled them and sent them out to the members on Friday. If you did not send leads in, you did not get the list. Since it was my idea, my assistant, and my system – I got a 24 hour head start. I put a transaction together every month from that information and so did most of the group. I challenge you to form some strange alliances!.
13. A normal market means a normal life. Sellers are only selling if they need to sell. Buyers are only buying if they need to buy and are getting a perceived value. There is no more emotion buying, speculation, and using your home for estate building by flipping every two years. This means you can work a plan as discussed above. You can time block your schedule and be less responsive to urgent and more responsive to important. Hey, there are less reasons to buy and sell when prices are not going up as fast, going sideways or down. Therefore, there are less reasons to jump up like a pop tart to handle non scheduled emergencies. Work the proven plans that produce more listings, make listing presentations, negotiate contracts, show properties to qualified buyers all scheduled in the correct balance every day.
14. You need more marketing time. If a seller thinks that limiting your listing period will motivate you, please explain the opposite is true because of human nature. You, the agent have to put out the resources upfront and want realistic expectation to make back your overhead and a profit. Please sell them on your time blocked status reports and go for a listing period that allows extra time for the buyers to go through the exceed inventory. In most areas a year listing is now the goal. I challenge you to get the time you need to make a profit.
15. Get out and see the inventory again. Yeah, I know, what a waste of time. However, if you have an EFFICIENT office tour or a tour put on by the MLS, it is now time to start going on them again. You see, the new listings start leading the trend down, therefore allowing you to pay less attention to the comps and more attention to the listings that are setting the new low prices. When I went on tour in a tough market, the outstanding values were the price setters, not the sales from 6 months ago. If you have to talk to Realtors, then maybe say high to them on tour. I challenge you to figure out how to see the new listings in your market area about once a week, efficiently. Stay away from Sam Slow’s listings because he never gets it right. See what the killers are listing, what they offer and how they are pricing.
16. There are less agents out there. Start wearing a name tag again. Put up one of those stupid magnetic signs on your car. There are less agents, even fewer that are not hunkered down in a bunker. Start showing your bright disposition, be out there, and when asked “how is real estate going”, you can say “My clients are making a fortune, what are your plans in the next 24 months?”
17. You will never be poor again. You see the people having trouble now, never have seen a tough market. They sold for the last 10 years and really thought that buyers bugged you to buy and sellers asked you to sell. They thought you did not need down payments or credit ratings. They thought that real estate always goes up. They scoffed when I said, “be careful”. They actually believed that it was easy to make a six figure income in real estate. They bought their own home with no money down and got an interest only loan. They used the money they saved on their loan and down payment to buy a great car(s) and beat the joneses. The ones that are making it have been through tough times before. Whatever does not kill you will make you stronger so if you listen to me carefully and do the stuff you should be doing you will make it. If you make it through this market you will be set for life, because it does not get much harder than this. I challenge you to prosper now or you set yourself up for life.
18. You will be convinced that buyers are the least profitable segment of market, no matter what market. I challenge you to stop listening to non agents selling technology that solicits buyers as your main income lead generator.
19. You will get to the point faster. “Either you want to buy or sell, or please call someone else.” You will be able to say that nicely with no one thinking you are full of yourself. I challenge you to start that exercise today.
20. You will become closer with my systems.